Bitcoin since its inception in 2008 has gone through many hurdles. First through obscurity and then to infamy in the dark markets and finally heading towards mainstream adoption. It was mainly hardcore cryptography enthusiasts, libertarian hobbyists and digital geeks who knew about it and accepted the blockchain technology as a thing to drive finance in the future but since then it has come a long way to win the masses.
There were many factors that were limiting crypto adoption in the beginning, Price volatility, Uncertainty regarding compliance laws, security concerns and lack of education to name a few. Onboarding new users were also very hard as educating them requires some knowledge of cryptography and economics in general. There were also passionate naysayers like Nouriel who hindered the adoption of spreading paranoia to the public.
Bitcoin is slowly breaking the barrier and making the way to its masses, driven by the young population’s natural curiosity and distaste to mainstream banks following major scandals and even their deepest greed which has led to rising of multiple recessions in the past.
A fairly recent survey conducted among 675 US students suggested that 9% of these students have taken a course in cryptocurrency while 18% were proud owners of a digital asset, be it bitcoin or any other. 26% even went as far as to express their desire for taking up a course about cryptocurrencies.
The survey speaks a lot about people’s willingness to learn about cryptocurrencies, this is also being reciprocated by businesses who accept bitcoin. This includes Real Estates, Car rentals, restaurants among other places.
Accepting bitcoin as a method of payment can bring up so many advantages. Evading bureaucracy, getting over arbitrary payment restrictions set by banks, getting over unjust chargebacks when on a dispute (like by PayPal), many businesses have realized the potential and bitcoin is no longer a currency for grey markets. As a matter of fact, bitcoin is taking off in the places it was supposed to take off rather late. Be it surviving the hyperinflation in Venezuela, helping people against diminishing currencies in Bolivia and Colombia or helping youngsters make their way across random restrictions set by banks in Nigeria, bitcoin is not only for the tech-savvy but for masses helping them solve their everyday life problems.
An argument can be made that for countries which already have a fintech ecosystem set, like the United States, China or most countries in Europe, there is no need for bitcoin but bitcoin is triggering war against mass surveillance, censorship and most perils that come along with the government that does not work for the people. Free press is starting to accept bitcoin after governments closed all the avenues for accepting donations.
It all started back when Edward Snowden started accepting bitcoin, it was then portrayed as whistleblower anonymous currency by the mainstream media but bitcoin has managed to clear that image as bitcoin is actually not completely anonymous but pseudonymous currency. Since every transaction is recorded in the blockchain, a bit of regulatory compliance can do a lot to stop money laundering and frauds. If regulation is properly imposed than its easier to track illicit funds in bitcoin than through hard cash.
A steady rise in compliant companies who deal with digital currencies means that bitcoin is getting a cleaner reputation. The rate of bitcoin adoption shows similarity with the adoption of the Internet in general. There is a striking similarity between how the Internet was rejected, then how slowly people became aware of its potential and how it became one of the most essential parts of daily life.
In addition to everyday places, bitcoin is being used in places where the fiat currency has turned its back on people who want to make a change. Crowdfunding to support free speech has put bitcoin in a positive light as a currency that can not be ruled by a governing agency that can go corrupt at any given time.
After more than a decade of constant struggle, bitcoin is finally gearing up for more mainstream adoption and is slowly shattering its image as a nerd currency and gearing up to be something that is seamlessly integrated into our lives–much like the Internet.
Are you ready for this change?